HPC - One Minute Manager

5 Minute Summary… The New 1 Minute Manager

The New One Minute Manager by [Ken Blanchard, Spencer Johnson]



Authors – Ken Blanchard & Spencer Johnson

Publication Date – May 2015

Links to Buy –  US Amazon, Europe Amazon

One Minute Manager Summary

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One Minute Manager Summary

Why YOU should read this book

The One Minute Manager contains some simple and pragmatic tools to being an efficient people manager.  It focuses on some of the core fundamentals of being a good manager, which from my experience too many leaders struggle at.  But when leaders perform these fundamental leadership tasks, they are able to lead their teams to success without a lot of stress.  

This book also focused on finding meaning at work.  Purpose and meaning is critical for to be engaged and successful in their roles.  In fact, we have written often on the topic.  The One Minute Manager will not only help you find meaning in your work, it will also support you in helping others find the meaning in theirs.

Finally, I suggest everyone should read this book because of its focus on quick tools that you can apply almost immediately.  It’s literally called the One Minute Manager, because most of the activities they write about take less than one minute.  Being a manager can sometimes feel like a never ending list of tasks, but not all of the tasks have to take a long time.  Being efficient in your people management skills can allow you to focus more time on truly time intensive things (strategic decisions, customer relationship building, etc…)

One Minute Manager Summary

Key Takeaways

The One Minute Manager focuses on 3 core concepts: Goal Setting

A) Goal Setting – No one can be successful if they don’t understand what they are trying to achieve.  That is why people need to have a clear picture of what good looks like.  You can’t run to the finish line if you don’t know where it is.  The One Minute Manager provides a 5 step approach to goal setting:

  1. Plan Together – Employees and Managers should work together in defining out their goals.  The Manager should empower the employee to define what good looks like, and determine what actions they will take to achieve that goal.
  2. Capture – It isn’t enough to have a conversation.  For the sake of alignment, the manager and employee should write out each of the goals – with due dates.
  3. Prioritize – Everyday brings a stack of tasks to complete.  Sometimes those tasks contribute to the prioritized goals, and sometimes they don’t.  One Minute Managers help their people review their most important goals each day, and ensure they are working on what is most important. 
  4. Reflect – Goals are not a static thing.  They are always evolving.  That is why managers and employees should frequently reflect on their priorities and actions and evaluate if it matches with their goals,
  5. Rethink – When difficulties arise (and they always do), a manager encourages their people to rethink their goals and what they are doing to achieve them.


B) Praise – Praise can be described as ‘a quick bursts of positive affirmation’ delivered by the manager to the employee.  This quick shot of positive feedback is a great way to build the culture and engagement levels in teams.  It also helps people know where they are succeeding, and they will respond by trying to do more of the same.  

  1. Praise people as soon as possible.
  2. Let them know what they did right! Be specific.
  3. Tell them how good you feel about what they did right and explain how it is helping you.  
  4. Pause for a moment to allow people time to feel good about this praise.
  5. Encourage them to do more of the same,
  6. Make it clear that you have confidence in them and that you’re going to support them along the way.


C) Redirection – Redirection is the One Minute Managers approach to constructive feedback.   Here are the seven steps for “Redirecting” a struggling employee:

  1. Redirect as soon as possible.
  2. Confirm the facts first, and review mistakes together. Be specific!
  3. Express how you feel and clarify how this particular behavior or lack of performance is impacting results.
  4. Be quiet for a moment to allow people time to reflect on the feedback
  5. Let your employee know that you have faith in them and believe they can re-direct.
  6. Remind them that you have confidence and trust in them and that you support their success.
  7. Make it clear when the redirect is over and move forward together.

One Minute Manager Summary

How YOU can apply the key takeaway

A) Goal Setting – While I would be surprised if you and your company are not doing some version of goal setting, I have experienced too many companies that follow a very top down approach.  One of the easiest ways to apply One Minute Manager concepts at your work is to ask your employees to be involved in setting their own goals.  This requires some humbleness from your side as the leader.  Stop thinking you have all the answers.  Instead, be curious to see what your people think about the goals and how to achieve them.

B) Praise – At Caveman we have also written a few times about the power of positive feedback and affirmation, and we love the One Minute Manager’s approach.  This by far is the simplest thing you can apply from the whole book.  All it takes is focus.  There is no doubt in my mind that you see people doing good things every single day.  What stops most managers is that they think those things don’t rise to the level of “praise worthy”.  But that kind of mindset means that managers hold a lot of praise back.  In the end, even your strongest performing employees are left guessing if they are doing well.  

C) Redirection – While the One Minute Manager’s steps to constructive feedback is different from the Fierce Feedback approach we usually recommend, we fully support the overall concept of Redirection.  The critical thing to remember (whatever approach you take) is to give the constructive feedback as timely as possible.  No one wants to talk about what they did bad 6 months ago.  Unfortunately, too many leaders hesitate when having tough conversations.  Don’t!  By delaying tough conversations you are only making it worse.

One Minute Manager Summary

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Cary Bailey–Findley has built High Performance Cultures within three Fortune 500 companies, and was awarded the ranking of #1 development organization in the world by the Association of Talent Development. He is currently the Talent Manager for SimCorp, but spends his free time helping startups scale up the the talent they need to succeed.

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